Hong Kong is a fascinating city. Few places on earth have quite so much to offer, packed into quite such a dense urban space, as Hong Kong. From extravagant architecture through to traditional districts, historic temples, and some of the best shopping and nightlife, it has everything. After I lived there for a while I came back 20 years later. This spring. And still the fascination is the same.
Why should you visit Hong Kong?
1. Because the Skyscrapers seem to touch the clouds here.
Any stay in Hong Kong should start with a trip on the Peak Tram up to Victoria Peak, the mountain on Hong Kong Island. From here, you truly feel like you have got the city on your feet. You see a forest of skyscrapers and you will understand why this city is often described as a vertical city. Look down and you see Central and Wan Chai. On the other side of the harbor is Kowloon. Sometimes a red-sailed junk crosses the harbor. And you can see the iconic green boats of the Star Ferry commuting between Central and Kowloon.
2. Because you will also find traces of old Hong Kong here.
The temples have survived decades and centuries. One of the most impressive is Man Mo Temple in Sheung Wan. It is dedicated to 2 gods: man is the god of literature and Mo the god of war. Police and members of the triads, the local Mafia, frequent this temple for worshipping beside normal people. You find the traditional atmosphere of Hong Kong also in the districts Mong Kok or Sham Shui Po. The streets in this part of town are awash with tiny street kitchens, temples, colorful signs hanging above the streets and small shops.
3. Because you can appreciate the good life here.
If you work long and hard with a very good income, then you can also live well in Hong Kong. And in such a cosmopolitan city as this, the setting for a good living is a vast range of different restaurants, bars, boutiques and shopping malls. The best districts for shopping are Central and Wan Chai if you are into local and unusual products. The choice places to meet in the evening are the Mid Levels district, Sheung Wan and Tsim Sha Tsui.
4. Because art is playing an increasingly important role here.
For a long time commerce and art felt like awkward bedfellows, particularly when that art was contemporary. In recent years this has changed radically. Probably the most visible sign of this is the fact that Art Basel, the world’s most famous art fair, has had a huge impact of the art business in Hong Kong since 2013. Numerous other international galleries has now opened. For example, the Pedder Building in Central, has become a particularly interesting space for contemporary art. It is home to galleries, which are always showing exciting exhibitions. The Police Married Quarters on Hollywood Road, where the Colonial police were once accommodated with their families, is now home to lots of galleries, concept stores and studios.
5. Because there are also trendy districts such as SoHo and PoHo here.
SoHo refers to South of Hollywood Road and PoHo is the name of the district between Po Hing Fong Street and Hollywood Road. There you can find all kind of Hong Kong’s trendsetters and hipsters. The area is also home to laid-back restaurants as well as chic cafés and a vast array of boutiques.
6. Because you can stay at one or two of the world’s most traditional and celebrated hotels here.
When The Peninsula opened for business almost 90 years ago, it was known as the „finest hotel east of Suez“. And little has changed. The „Pen“ continues to be one of the luxury hotels in the city. Even if you are not staying at the Peninsula you can enjoy the afternoon tea in the hotel’s legendary lobby.
For more than 50 years, the Mandarin Oriental has a rich and proud history. In 1963, the hotel, was the tallest building on the island when it opened. It became a historic landmark – a status it still holds today.
Insider Tipp: Go for a sundowner to the Aqua Bar and Restaurant in the One Peking Tower by the harbor. The view of the Hong Kong Island skyline is just breathtaking.